Biden campaign security chief becomes Federal CISO

Chris DeRusha brings public and private sector experience to the role

Front of the White House at night

The Biden administration has picked the president’s former campaign cyber security chief Chris DeRusha as Federal CISO.

DeRusha's appointment didn't come from the White House, but acting Federal CISO Maria Roat welcomed him to the role on Twitter. DeRusha also updated his LinkedIn page with his new role.

The new appointee is no stranger to Biden. He began serving as the CISO on the Biden election campaign in June 2020 to protect it from election tampering. There were no known compromises of the campaign's systems or staff, although Google security researchers warned of a Chinese hacking group’s attempt last year.

Biden's new federal CISO also has previous experience in government cyber security. He worked at the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 until 2015 as a cyber security strategist and then as advisor to the Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity before spending two years at the White House as the president’s senior cyber security advisor.

He left that role a few months after former President Trump took office, moving to a position at Ford Motor Company to look after enterprise vulnerability management and application security. After a year at Ford, he went to work for the state of Michigan, where he started as deputy chief security officer before taking the top role.

The Federal CISO position is an Obama-era creation that began in September 2016 with Gregory Touhill’s appointment. The role sits within the Office of Management and Budget and reports to the Federal Chief Information Officer. 

In the Federal CISO role, DeRusha is likely to lead a team that coordinates cyber security policy, planning, and implementation across federal agencies. In the past, the Federal CISO role has also conducted cyber security reviews at federal agencies.

Biden has committed to addressing cyber attacks on the US. He also voiced his support for the Federal CISO position before entering office as part of the American Rescue Plan that he unveiled on January 14. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan earmarked $9.7 billion for cyber security investments at CISA, $300 million for technology modernization across federal agencies, and $200 million for the Information Technology Oversight and Reform Fund to rapidly hire hundreds of experts to support the federal Chief Information Security Officer and U.S. Digital Service.

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